Super Brawl: The Price of Football
by Lyonne16 on February 10, 2015 - 4:48pm
114.4 million viewers. Solely in the United States did this exorbitant number watch the Super Bowl on February 2015, an audience that surpassed any show in the country’s history, including the previous Super Bowl games (Bieler). Yet, football is only part of the entertainment. Indeed, the renowned singer Katy Perry diverted the spectators through extravagant representations of her hit-songs during the half-time show, accompanied by Lenny Kravitz and rapper Missy Elliot. However, the show does not cease during the commercials. On the contrary, those inflated 30-second advertisements are part of the event (“Super Bowl XLIX”). Canadians, who do not have access to them, eagerly search them up on Youtube, as to not miss any component of the occasion (O’Neil). Regardless of all the excitement that this sport generates year after year, there exist substantial downsides regarding the football players’ well being and health, overlooked to satisfy the masses, the National Football League, and the economy of the country.
Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy), advanced dementia, suicide. All are possible illnesses or conditions that any football player could develop early in their lives. So far, 5000 formers players have filed lawsuits against the league because of the concealed risks of concussions (Belson). However, the NFL has been reluctant to make any changes regarding the rules of the game. If one considers the prodigious profits they make thanks to football and its popularity amongst the population, 1$ billion in profits last year, the motive of their hesitation becomes apparent (Isidore).
On the other hand, if one examines the influence that this sport possesses on all the young boys who wish to mimic their football idols, in the United States and across the world, then our Summum Bonum is to protect the well-being of the generation of tomorrow by applying the utilitarian mantra of the greatest good for the greatest number. Indeed, Steve Almond, the author of “Against Football: One Fan’s Reluctant Manifesto,” says that “one of every 500 kids who plays high school football as a senior is going to make it to the NFL” (Mumford). However, it is almost certain that amongst that vast number, the majority will suffer from concussions without attaining the privileges of fame and wealth. According to a new study conducted at the University of Tulsa’s Laureate Institute for Brain Research, the scanning of the brains of college football players revealed a smaller hippocampus region compared to a control group of non-football players (Hruby). This region of the brain controls emotions, memory formation, and is very vulnerable to brain injuries (Hruby). A reduction of the hippocampus could also correspond to neurodegenerative diseases (Hruby).
As a result, football is one of the sports with the most reported concussions, approximately 250 000 per year in the United States (Blecher). According to Andrew Blecher, a sports medicine specialist, traumatic brain injury is most common at the high school level (Blecher). Consequently, football has become inherently violent. Following the many studies that repeatedly surface in articles, informing the risks of this sport, many make the choice keep their kids away from playing football, like James Lebron, former football player in High School (Manfred). Paradoxically, some families who desire to protect their children from this sport, also decide to support it on screen or in the stadiums. Let us not forget the animalistic pleasure and adrenaline sports fan get when watching others brawl during a game, later shown in slow motion. However, this kind of unspiritual happiness does not correspond to the intellectual and profound one advocated by John Stuart Mill in utilitarianism.
100 years ago, this sport almost ended due to the prevalent deaths amongst the football players in high school and college (“A Moral Dilemma”). Subsequently, President Theodore Roosevelt imposed a change in the game and the forward pass was introduced (“A Moral Dilemma”). Today, time has come for new measures and new regulations in the game. Thus, utilitarianism urges us to preserve the well being of each individual player, professional or non professional and maximize the happiness of each football player and their families. Some hypotheses would be to change the helmets, or remove the face masks as to reduce the injuries.
“A Moral Dilemma: Behind the Face Mask.” The MMBQ. Oct. 24 2013. Web. Feb. 7 2015.
Belson, Ken. “Brain Trauma to Affect One in Three Players, N.F.L Agrees.” The New York Times. Sept. 12 2014. Web. 7 Feb. 2015.
Bieler, Des. “Super Bowl XLIX was the most watched show in U.S. TV History.” The Washington Post. Feb. 2 2015. Web. Feb. 7 2015.
Blecher, Andrew M. “Concussions.” Southern California Orthopedic Institute. Web. Feb. 7 2015.
Hruby, Patrick. “Facing the Truth.” Sports on Earth. May 15 2014. Web. Feb. 7 2015.
Isidore, Chris. “ NFL gets Billions in Subsidies from U.S. taxpayers.” CNNMoney (New York). Jan. 30 2015. Web. Feb. 7 2015.
Manfred, Tony. “LeBron James Doesn’t Let His Kids Play Football.” Business Insider. Nov. 10 2014. Web. Feb. 7 2015.
Mumford, Tracy. “ One Man’s Moral Case against Football.” MPRnews. Jan. 29 2015. Web. Feb. 7 2015.
O’Neil, Lauren. “Super Bowl commercials 2015: This Year’s Top 10 Best Ads.” CBCnews Community. Feb. 2 2015. Web. Feb. 7 2015.
“Super Bowl XLIX.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 7 Feb. 2015. Web. 7 Feb. 2015.